Friday, August 11, 2006

Critically Endangered Loggerhead Turtles

August 4, 2006

Here in the small town of Puerto Lopez Mateos on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula the critically endangered loggerhead sea turtle gathers in huge numbers to feast on pelagic red crabs. The turtles are all born in Japan, then make an incredible swim all the way across the Pacific Ocean to Baja where they feed and mature, a process that may take as much as 30 years. When the animals are just reaching sexual maturity they head back across the Pacific Ocean to their natal beaches in Japan to mate and lay eggs. The first satellite tagged turtle to do this was named Adelita and it took her just over a year to make the return trip! Who knew? No one did until the late 1990's that this whole process was going on! Along with the knowledge about the migration pattern came the realization that many of these turtles along the coast of Baja are being caught in small scale gill-net and long-line fisheries. For the last four days we have been working with a group called Proyecto Caguama to help bring attention to this needless destruction of such magnificent animals. The problems are many, but this group is working hard within the local fishing community to bring awareness and help change patterns that are deep-rooted among the inhabitants here. On Saturday, August 12th, the group will hold it's 4th annual Turtle Festival in Lopez Mateos, with an expected crowd of around 1,500 people! Look for more info as it becomes available!!